Infertility is a difficult topic. For those experiencing infertility, there is pain, sadness and even shame attached to the topic. For others, it can be uncomfortable, and hard to know what to say. But the silence and ensuing sense of isolation that comes from not talking about infertility only make it harder. That’s why we’re going to talk about it today, and all week, for National Infertility Awareness Week.
Each year, one out of every eight couples is given a diagnosis of infertility. It’s more likely than not that someone you know has dealt with, or is currently dealing with, the fallout of an infertility diagnosis. For many hopeful parents, it can be absolutely devastating. The road to healing is long and winding. While some people may need privacy during this time, others need a supportive community.
National Infertility Awareness Week began, in part, to help build that supportive community. This week was founded by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association in 1989. For 2019, National Infertility Awareness Week is from April 21–27.
Each year, RESOLVE creates a new theme for the week. This is done to guide the discussion in a focused, productive direction. In the past, themes have included #FlipTheScript, an effort to correct the myths about infertility, and #ListenUp, a campaign to get the attention of lawmakers, employers, insurance providers and others about the hardships of infertility.
This year, you can stand with RESOLVE and thousands of others for #InfertilityUncovered.
This 2019 National Infertility Awareness Week theme is two-pronged: to continue to speak up about the widespread impact of infertility and to turn the spotlight on how folks affected by infertility respond to it.
As we already said, an average of one out of every eight couples receives a diagnosis of infertility. That’s 12 percent of married women, or about 4 million women in America. Infertility does not discriminate based on gender, and many men in America are also diagnosed each year. This is an issue that touches men and women from every walk of life.
Couples have to figure out how to move on after receiving a diagnosis of infertility. First, there’s the emotional healing process, which can take quite a while. Then, there’s the practical side of things. A diagnosis of infertility does not end a dream of building a family. Couples have to figure out what the options are. Generally speaking, many couples will consider adoption, surrogacy and IVF treatments. However, not all couples have equal access to these family-building options.
So, what can you do about that?
First, make yourself aware. Congrats, you’re already heading in the right direction! You are participating in #InfertilityUncovered by reading this blog. Awareness is the first step and a major milestone. Understanding how many people deal with infertility, and that many people have trouble accessing family-building routes after a diagnosis, is the first thing you can do.
Second, spread awareness of this to people in your community. Use your social media platform to share helpful information and motivational calls to action to help people who have received an infertility diagnosis. Modern-day movements can begin with tweets and statuses. You can wield the connective power of social media for good during National Infertility Awareness Week.
Third, consider supporting organizations that make access to things like adoption and surrogacy easier. This could look like sharing updates from American Adoptions or our sister company, American Surrogacy. There are many organizations that give adoption grants, and those organizations are often supported by donations. You can also start a fundraiser for RESOLVE to support their work. There are a lot of ways to help.
Finally, to those of you reading this and going through a struggle with infertility, we would encourage you, to the extent you are comfortable, to share your story this week. Maybe you have just received a diagnosis and aren’t ready to talk. Take your time. Or, maybe you have worked through the healing process and are now looking to build a family. Your story can be powerful. If you have gone through the adoption process as a way to build your family, you can share how beautiful this way of becoming parents has been for you.
Stories of first-hand experience can create real change. What you are going through is not easy, and sharing your journey is brave.
#InfertilityUncovered can make a difference in 2019 with your help. Let’s get started.